In today’s Democratic Party you can’t be too woke. The least little blemish on your wokeness résumé, and you’re out — declared unwoke-worthy. The woke movement has morphed into the cancel culture among Democrats as leftists try to outwoke each other in some bizarre wokeness purity test.
You would think U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-Louisiana, is sufficiently woke. He’s the head of the Congressional Black Caucus and once described President Donald Trump’s administration as full of white supremacists.
But some are calling for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to drop Richmond as his national campaign co-chair. Donald Shaw, a columnist for the woke website Sludge, doesn’t like Richmond’s apparent cozy relationship with the fossil fuel industry.
“Despite representing a low-lying Louisiana district that could be one of the areas in the U.S. most immediately impacted by climate change, Richmond has voted reliably in favor of expanding production and exports of natural gas and oil. His voting record is one of the most fossil fuel industry-friendly of all Democrats in Congress," writes Shaw.
We should assume Shaw lives by candlelight and commutes to work by horse and buggy for demanding such wokeness purity from Richmond. He calls out Richmond for voting in favor of building the Keystone XL pipeline transporting crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. Shaw also doesn’t like Richmond’s support of streamlining the approval of natural gas pipelines carrying less than 0.13 billion cubic feet per day.
Shaw quotes Stephen O’Hanlon, communications director for the environmental group Sunrise Movement, that advocates for the Green New Deal. It's a proposal floated by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, that outlaws cow flatulence, air travel and requires the refitting of all buildings in America, costing too many trillions to count.
“No presidential candidate is going to get taken seriously on climate change if they’re to take cues from members of Congress who’ve put the interests of oil and gas donors above the health and well-being of their constituents. Vice President Biden should cut ties with Rep. Richmond,” O’Hanlon told Sludge.
If Richmond were to get in line with the Green New Deal zealots, it’d be a clear betrayal of his district’s constituents. Marathon Oil operates a refinery in his district in Garyville employing 1,500 workers. Exxon’s Baton Rouge refinery is also in Richmond’s district, employing nearly 7,000. Richmond embracing the Green New deal ending fossil fuel energy would bring unemployment and poverty to tens of thousands he represents.
Another uber-woke venue, The Guardian, criticized Richmond for his ties to the chemical industry, also a major employer in his district.
“In total, Richmond has received $279,050 in oil and gas money, placing him fifth among current House Democrats in career donations, despite 81 members having served longer tenures than him. He has taken $128,750 from chemical manufacturers, placing him sixth in career donations among current House Democrats,” writes The Guardian.
The Guardian also quotes Anne Rolfes, executive director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a group describing itself as an environmental justice organization.
“I’ve been working in his (Richmond's) district every year that he’s been a congressman, and I’ve never seen his face or any of his staff members in the communities working on these (industrial pollution) issues. It’s simply not on their radar,” said Rolfes
Richmond is up for reelection next year, but it’s doubtful the questioning of his wokeness will impact the congressman politically. He’s been elected easily four times, receiving 55% of the vote in 2012, 68% in 2014, 69% in 2016, and 80% in 2018. Richmond’s district was carved out to create a heavy African American voter presence. Some 62% of Richmond’s constituents are black.
Whether Richmond’s coziness with the industries providing jobs to thousands in his district will hurt Biden is another question. Democratic candidates running for president are in a frenzy trying to out-woke each other. One candidate, Democratic South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, called for reparations for immigrants here illegally. You can’t get much more woke than that. The Democratic Party on the national level has obviously swung to the extreme left when a guy like Richmond is questioned for his wokeness.
Email Dan Fagan at email@example.com.